Let’s face it, the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) doesn’t always know what it’s doing. Despite the occasional and notable exception – Moonlight’s ill-organized, but very justified Best Motion Picture Triumph over La La Land in 2017, Parasite’s 2020 Oscars AKA’s happy swing, the last good thing that happened before the pandemic – were some of the earlier decisions of the Organize some real clothes. Do you remember the Green Paper? Yeah, I mean, neither do we.
With the 94th Academy Awards racing at us, endless lists of handkerchief-length nominee predictions, and the first full reviews for House of Gucci finally seeping in, the sheer volume of theatrical offerings can be overwhelming. But we have your back! What follows is a shortlist of some of the best films of the year – films that could and should win the coveted Oscar for best picture if there really is justice in the world.
1. Licorice pizza
In strictly chronological order, the last Paul Thomas Anderson film we saw was about Daniel Day-Lewis’ slow and erotic descent into disease. The mushroom-filled masterpiece, Phantom Thread, focuses on designer Reynolds Woodcock and its newest muse, a reserved waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps). The subject of the Southern California writer’s latest project is an odd couple again: Gary Valentine, a 15-year-old child actor and die-hard romantic, and Alana Kane, a brave 25-year-old who does a boring job as an assistant for a small school photography company called Tiny toes.
While Licorice Pizza is undeniably an age-gap romance, it never crosses the line to be creepy, thank goodness. Full of energy from the other, the two (played by the relative newcomers Cooper Hoffman – son of Philip Seymour Hoffman – and Alana Haim – sister of other Haims) cavort through the San Fernando Valley, found a waterbed company together and meet every domineering, cocooned -up Hollywood stereotype in the book as they audition tirelessly for their big break.
2. The French Embassy
This anthology-inspired gem epitomizes Wes Anderson at his best. Based on what happened in a newspaper from Kansas and in the fictional Ennui-sur-Blasé, the film unfolds through a series of vignettes that, as usual, are perfectly framed and expertly colored. Aside from the journalists telling their stories (Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson), there are art dealers (Adrien Brody), student revolutionaries (Timothée Chalamet and Lyna Khoudri), prisoners (Benicio Del Toro) and police officers all chasing after others around About the otherwise rather sleepy French town.
Douglas Greenwood of iD wrote in his first-look review from Cannes: “The French Dispatch is an important film in Wes Anderson’s world. In a way, it feels like its most powerful: ambitious, expansive, with lots of opportunities to go wrong. And yet he somehow manages to stay determined, rock solid and focused on his story. This frenetic and fabulous, spirited film, a love letter to the potential of journalism to become real art in the right hands, is really, really special. “He’s right, and he should say it!
3. The power of the dog
Jane Campion’s latest drama is a queer western drama set on the rocky plains of Montana in the 1920s. After the rancher brothers George and Phil (Jesse Plemons and Benedict Cumberbatch) put their relationship to the test with the appearance of the charming innkeeper Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), the Netflix Film is an exciting exploration of anger, oppression, desire and masculinity, which was awarded the prize for best director at the Venice Film Festival. “When you get recruited into Jane’s world, it turns into a little boot camp,” Kodi said earlier this year. “She has a very healthy way of becoming the adversary, challenging you and pushing you out of this stagnant nature to a place where we can grow.”
It must be said: Denis Villeneuves is not for everyone. The director’s eagerly anticipated space epic – spanning several political dynasties fighting for resources in an apocalyptic wasteland – leans more towards art house than science fiction, slow-burning and dimly lit. But that’s why we love it.
Then there is Timothée Chalamet as the apparent heir to Paul Atreide. As Carrie Wittmer argues in a play devoted to the chameleon, “The presence of Chalamet is the main factor that invests the casual moviegoer in a fascinating, but usually rather strange, story about a war between planets with sandworms, a floating Stellan Skarsgård and a person remains “named Duncan Idaho.” The movie’s biggest flaw, however, is the clear lack of Zendaya, whose total showing time is a measly 7 minutes of the film’s gigantic running time (2 hours and 35 minutes).
Is this a game for you Denis Villeneuve? Regardless, the filmmaker has created an impressive and compelling adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel that has probably never been made before. It should get an Oscar!
With a vintage Chanel wardrobe, a soundtrack that reflects “true anarchy and chaos,” and an Emma Corrin-acclaimed dialect coach, all the parts are there for Kristen Stewart Spencer to lead Spencer to Oscar’s glory. Pablo Larraín’s second film about a blazer-wearing girl boss (the first is Jackie, of course) is one of his best – a macro shot of the life of the late Princess Diana over the course of a one-of-a-kind hellish weekend on the Sandringham Estate. It all starts, of course, on Christmas Eve.
In our review of the “unrestrained, psychological melodram,” Jack King wrote of K-Stew’s “all-out high-camp theatricalism.” He continues: “The story of Diana Spencer is based on a story of patriarchal violence: women betrayed by hastily forgiven husbands but whose own missteps are demonized to the extreme; of insatiable, parasitic paparazzos who exploit anyone for a quick buck; Nose-looking parents-in-law who are more interested in family tradition than in the well-being of their daughter-in-law. “
Does this film do justice to the complex and often terrible life of the People’s Princess, one of the most famous and consequently most terrorized women in the world? Questionable. Is it a compelling, visually stunning, 111-minute dunk about the British monarchy? Oh, absolutely.
Follow iD on Instagram and TikTok to learn more about movies.
Comments are closed.